The ‘Other’ Scholarship Application


Kent State ranked as the seventh-fastest growing campus for sugar babies

Katy Coduto

The Kent State financial aid website lists four types of ways to receive assistance in paying for school as a Kent State student: scholarships, grants, loans and the Federal Work-Study program. You pick your method, fill out the application and wait for the result. Sometimes you get the aid; sometimes you don’t.

But some students aren’t filling out Kent State-based scholarship applications, and they aren’t patiently waiting for another student loan to come through. Instead, some students in the Kent State community — usually female coeds — are pursuing a new option: They’re becoming what refers to as “sugar babies.” ranked Kent State as the seventh-fastest growing campus for sugar babies, or students who are looking for older benefactors to pay for their college tuition. The numbers are based on how many .edu email addresses are signed up from a given school, and Kent State was well represented with 219 new sign-ups in the time of the study. public relations manager Leroy Velasquez cites the increasing cost of a college education as a major factor in the increase in sugar babies.

“Ohio is one of the fastest states in terms of student tuition rates increasing,” he explained. “The average debt of a college graduate in Ohio is over $26,000. It’s as simple as asking ourselves, ‘Why graduate in debt when I could just find a sugar daddy who will help me graduate debt-free?’”

Setting up an account is easy — I know because I did it. I didn’t use my .edu email at first, instead opting to go with my regular Gmail account. Velasquez recommends students use their .edu account because not only do you get a free account (like mine), but you are automatically upgraded to a free premium account.    

“We’re not charging [the sugar babies] anything because our goal is to improve their lives,” he says. “It would go against our core values as a company.” doesn’t let you put any contact information on your profile, but it does ask a series of questions not only about your interests and academic goals, but also your body type, height and hair color. Every question has to be answered before your profile can be created and that’s because, at its core, is still essentially a dating website — users, both sugar babies and sugar daddies, are looking for relationships.

“The most common misconception,” Velasquez is quick to admit, “is that people think this is just veiled prostitution. People think this is sex for money. But these men and women make a choice to engage in relationships. They have to see eye-to-eye in whatever arrangement they want.”

That’s why, Velasquez explains, has trademarked the “Mutually Beneficial Relationships” slogan. Both parties have an expectation of getting something out of the arrangement, and both parties have the ability to be up front about the kind of relationship they want. This starts when you build a profile, as you have options for your “lifestyle expectation”: negotiable, minimal, practical, moderate, substantial and high. Each one is allotted a given monthly allowance that a user can expect within that bracket. Velasquez said most people, both babies and daddies, lean toward “practical,” which is an average of $1,000 to $3,000 a month.

You also have to have a picture on your profile before you can communicate with another member. And, perhaps most significantly, has background-checked profiles. Members who pass the background check — which is handled by a third party — get a certification so that users know they’ve gone through the process and been approved. Other special profiles exist, including Diamond sugar daddies who pay extra to be featured at the tops of searches.

I can tell you that, within 24 hours, I had nine profile views but no messages because I didn’t upload a picture. Even with very basic information about myself (I didn’t overload on details beyond the basics: I’m a graduate student afraid of debt), my profile had traffic. And without a picture, I was still able to explore the site and the different members. You can see income levels and wealth (which can also be certified), as well as where potential partners are located. You can see the kinds of relationships that are being sought and the typical allowances.

However, as with any online dating you participate in, you have to be careful. includes warnings at the bottom of the page about identity fraud and bounced checks. You have to be careful before meeting up with someone or taking money from them; and Velasquez emphasizes making sure both parties are clear about the terms of the arrangement.

“We encourage members to be upfront and honest when they meet for the first time,” he said. “All of the terms, all of the allowances, are typically set in that first date. And if there’s no chemistry, then it’s on to the next one.”

And, as Velasquez also says, the stigma of an arrangement like this is fading. As with other forms of Internet matchmaking, this is becoming more mainstream.

“It’s an obvious choice for a lot of students, and it’s getting more mainstream every year,” he says. “It’s all about getting an understanding and sharing this niche dating lifestyle.”

So, as for my profile, I think I’ll let it go. However, if you’ve found success — or maybe experienced a complete failure — through, you should let us know. Either way, you could further enlighten your fellow Kent State students to this interesting, growing new option.

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected]